Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The Libertarian Right

I happened upon this article recently at the National Post by Terence Corcoran, which was apparently written in April but on the main page for Canadian Politics in September regarding a speech Mr. Harper gave to a partisan crowd. This speech bothered me more than the one in the Sault that Liberals were fawning over. In the speech the Prime Minister takes some very pointed jabs at Libertarians.

As someone who generally identifies himself in political conversations as a member of the "Libertarian Right", I am not pleased about the pushback against "Libertarianism" coming from the right in both the United States and Canada. I can recall Laura Ingraham after the Republicans got trounced in November went on a tirade against Libertarians, in response to the suggestion that Conservatives could make inroads in the center if they embraced more Libertarian values. What is a Libertarian? As Corcoran points out it is not clearly defined, but in my experience tends to include people who are socially Liberal and fiscally Conservative. I suppose the most famous politician of this persuasion is Ron Paul.

Most people would agree that Ron Paul takes Libertarian Doctrine like Milton Friedman's Free to Choose too literally, and preaches an extreme position. He would dismantle most levers of government, and diminish it to its smallest possible size. He would completely deregulate financial markets in an embrace of economic Darwinism, which would open a potential opportunity for increased predatory behavior. Lions and gazelles, sheep and wolves. I certainly don’t support disbanding the CIA. Sometimes I hear Ron Paul speak and I think he’s brilliant, sometimes I hear him speak and I think he’s crazy. Some right wing pundits like Coulter and Ingraham push back hard against Libertarians because they see it as a threat to traditional conservatism because Libertarians are:

1) more likely to be agnostic or atheist

2) less likely to oppose gay marriage (I don’t care if people want to marry farm animals, but that may be the product of my Scottish genealogy, and yes I am speaking in hyperbole)

3) more likely to support decriminalizing marijuana

4) more likely to support legalized prostitution

5) more likely to be pro choice, hell, Milton Friedman’s Libertarian doctrine is called “Free to Choose”

But a lot of these people, and there are a lot of us, vote conservative because:

1) we want to pay the lowest amount of taxes possible

2) we despise wasteful spending of said tax dollars

3) we don't want the government to tell us what to do

And those 3 fiscal beliefs outweigh the 5 points of departure on social policy. There exists a Libertarian left who emphasize the differences on social policy over the agreement in fiscal policy. How big is the Libertarian left and how big is the Libertarian right? Nobody knows for sure. There is a demographic in the United States who identifies themselves as “South Park Conservatives”, which you understand if you have ever watched South Park. Of the two creators of the cartoon, one is a Libertarian and the other is a Conservative. The latter, Matt Stone once said:

“I hate Conservatives, but I really fucking hate Liberals…”

I could not have said it any better myself. I would encourage the social conservatives to refrain from pushing back against Libertarianism. You can’t assimilate everyone into your agenda, and by moving towards compromise you are moving towards the center. There are a lot of votes in the center. If the population has a normal distribution, then 2/3 of voters should be within one standard deviation of the center, with the mode being right on the center line. It is a balancing act, and when you need all the votes you can get, it is not wise to take jabs at people who vote for you.

And on the jab that Libertarians are responsible for the recent collapse of the Stock Markets, I have a simple response. A single regulation could have prevented it. Don't loan money to people who won't be able to pay it back. Boom, catastrophe averted. Unfortunately Barney Frank got his chubby socialist fingers into the American housing market.

"I think that parents only get so offended by television because they rely on it as a babysitter and the sole educator of their kids."

-Kyle, South Park


  1. Libertarianism sounds more like the political ideals of the elite to me. (real conservative)

  2. I don't know about being the views of the elite, I certainly don't think myself as such, my family is hard working and compassionate for generations, and most likely to identify with those 8 points as I do. We aren't even big fish in a small town, but we do have a family business employing 8. Might be elite after all? Nope, far too humble for that.

  3. This may shock people to know, but the Iceman is not rich. I make a modest wage, which is why I get very particular about taxes.

  4. The economic problems sis not need a regulation to prevent them. They were caused by the regulation that forced the banks to loan money to people that could not pay the loans back. Look up the 1995 amendment to the Community Reinvestment Act.

  5. The problem with forcing candidates to conform to Conservative doctrine is that they look like complete hypocrites when their true self gets out. Just look at gays in the Republican Party. They have right wing leanings, but love the cock. Then once they are Republicans they go around the country spewing focus on the family crap, how homosexuality is evil, meanwhile they love the cock. Eventually it is discovered that they love the cock, and it makes them look like clowns. When really, who cares if they want to do in the bedroom?

    Conservatives should be more inclusive, not exclusive. The road to a majority goes through the center.

  6. Libertarianism looks elitist to me because it is liberalism on low taxes, really a misnomer if we compare this to today's modern economies. Liberalism sprang from government intervention and taxation. Conservatism is reflected in both withdrawing moral proclivity and statist support. I believe that we will not have a reduced state until we adopt a more conservative morality. (real conservative)

  7. Libertarianism is NOT Liberalism because we also want small government. We do not support the ideals of socialism, but rather freedom of choice. If you think moving to the right can win the center, then "real conservative" will never win a majority government.

  8. And again, you can't call the spokesperson for the "Canadian Libertarian Right" an elitist. I earn a comparable wage as a fry cook at MacDonald’s. I am not saying this because I am some "bourgeois" elitist. I say it because I believe it, and I sure as hell ain't elite. If you want to declare war on people who vote for you, good luck with that majority.